How to Maximise Your Apprenticeship Levy?

This may seem an easy question, but apprenticeships have changed over recent years and can now bring tangible benefits to your business and development opportunities for employees.

With the Apprenticeship levy challenging employers to invest in their people, we have aligned our leadership programmes to the Apprenticeship levy standards, creating a simple solution for businesses running level 3 and level 5 apprenticeships.

Before we tell you about the work we have been doing on apprenticeships and how we can help your business, here is some detail around what apprenticeships are and how they work.

What is an Apprenticeship?

A 2012 UK Government review of apprenticeships, recommended a more employer-focused approach to the development, delivery and funding of apprenticeships in England. Since then, apprenticeships have been undergoing a series of reforms, to increase quality, simplify the system and have apprenticeships that reflect the skills required by employers.

An apprenticeship must be a paid position and must last for a minimum of 12 months. It combines working with the opportunity to train and obtain a qualification.

There are different levels of apprenticeship and each one is equivalent to traditional qualifications. Apprenticeship frameworks are being withdrawn and are instead operating as Standards.

Apprenticeship Standards are focused on the occupation, with apprentices needing to be assessed and prove they can carry out all aspects of their job. This means as an employer, you can be sure that at the end of an apprenticeship, you have the skills you need within your organisation.

Click here for more information on Apprenticeship Standards.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy and what can you use it for?

The Apprenticeship levy was introduced on 6th April 2017. If you are a UK business with an annual wage cost of £3million or more, you will be paying a 0.5% levy on your wage bill, minus an allowance of £15,000. The levy you pay goes into a digital fund, which is topped by an additional 10% paid by the government.

Funding can only be used for apprenticeships in England. For more information on Wales Scotland or Northern Ireland click here.

The money in your levy account can then be used to fund apprenticeship training within your organisation. The money has to be used within 24 months, or you will lose it.

Don’t lose this valuable funding source for training. Use it!

What are the business benefits for apprentices spending 20% of their time on off-the-job training?

There is a minimum requirement for all apprentices to spend 20% of their working time on off-the-job training. This must take place within their normal, paid working hours.

You may be thinking that this sounds like a lot of time spent off-the-job, but there are many business benefits to be gained, making this time a good investment.

If an apprentice is spending 20% of their time on off-the-job training, they are spending 80% of their time bringing back that learning to the workplace and adding value to your business.

We help our clients make the 20% of time their apprentices spend off the job, as valuable as possible. One of the ways we do this is by each apprentice completing a ‘stretch’ project, which not only allows them to directly apply the learning, it means they are working on a project directly relevant to their job and delivering a tangible return on investment for the organisation.

During an 18 month apprenticeship, the 20% requirement means each apprentice must spend 78 days on off-the-job learning. Through face to face training, e-learning and time spent on the ‘stretch’ project, we can provide your apprentices with 47 days of off-the-job learning. That’s 60% of the requirement. There is also time spent on their Professional Development Log, recording and reflecting on their learning.

How are we helping clients deliver great apprenticeships and maximise their levy funding?

We make it as easy and simple as possible for our clients to not only unlock the potential within their people, but to align their development to the apprenticeship levy standards, delivering a win for their business and the apprentices.

If you have paid money into your apprenticeship levy fund, why not make it work for your business. Develop your existing workforce or train new employees.

For a Level 3 Team Leader / Supervisor programme, you can spend £4,500 for each apprentice from your fund. If the programme is Level 5, Operational / Department Manager, the money you can spend from your fund, per apprentice is £7,000.

We have partnered with GK Apprenticeships to align our leadership / personal development programmes with the Level 5 ‘Operations / Departmental Manager’ and the Level 3 Team Leader / Supervisor Standards.

Our Level 3 programme will equip your team leaders or equivalent, with the skills to be able to be able to effectively manage themselves, others and resources, utilising self-management, discipline and the power of delegation to achieve their business objectives.

Our Level 5 programme will make sure your Departmental Managers or equivalent develop a strategic and commercial mindset. They will be able to set a clear and compelling vision, drive the business to high performing standards and take personal ownership of delivering results.

Both programmes will arm your leaders and managers with the mindset, skillset and toolset to support the growth of your organisation.

How we helped McKesson UK build their leadership capability

We have worked with McKesson UK for over 4 years, delivering their ‘Leading Everyday’ Programme. We were able to align this existing leadership programme with the apprenticeship levy standard.

McKesson UK were already committed to unlocking people potential with our world-class leadership training. We helped them maximise the benefits from their levy funding at the same time, in the simplest way.


If you are a forward thinking business, already investing in developing your people, apprenticeship programmes delivered through us, will allow you to unlock the potential within your biggest asset, your people, whilst getting the most from your levy funding.

Talk to us today about how we can help simplify apprenticeships. Call us on 0870 850 8931 or email

Click here to find out more about our Inspirational Leader Programme.


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